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From our State Capitol in Lansing to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, WKAR is committed to explaining how the actions of lawmakers are affecting Michiganders. Political and government reporter Abigail Censky leads this section. There are also stories from Capitol correspondents Cheyna Roth, Rick Pluta and the Associated Press. As the 2020 presidential race begins, look here for reports on the role Michigan will play in electing or re-electing the president.

Ethics Overhaul Signature Gathering To Begin Soon

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A state board has taken a step that clears the way for a petition campaign to amend the Michigan Constitution to move ahead. 

The Board of State Canvassers approved 100 words to summarize a sweeping 84-thousand-89-word proposed amendment to the state constitution. The amendment would outlaw lobbyist gifts to state elected officials and create a two-year waiting period before those officials can become paid lobbyists.

Lonnie Scott with Progress Michigan said the petition campaign is ready to go. 

“As soon as we can get some printed, we will hold a kickoff event and have volunteers out on the streets as fast as we can,” he said. 

Scott also said many people are interested in participating.

“We have had an overwhelming amount of support from folks contacting us, reaching out, asking how they can get petitions to get started, so we expect that to start soon,” he said.  

Scott said he expects the campaign to have signature-gathering wrapped up in time to qualify for the November ballot. 

The board action certified the petition forms are technically correct. It does not preclude a legal challenge based on the substance of the proposal.

The 100-word petition summary of the proposed 8,489-word amendment as approved by the Board of State Canvassers:

A proposal to amend the Michigan Constitution by adding Article 3, Section 9 to prohibit lobbyists and clients from giving gifts to state government public officials and their immediate families; prohibit the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, and Members of the Michigan Legislature from working for lobbyists for 2 years after leaving office; prohibit lobbyist compensation contingent on the result of lobbying; require lobbyists and public officials to disclose all attempts to influence official actions of public officials; require any person to disclose public communications encouraging others to influence official actions of public officials; and require Secretary of State implementation.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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